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Convicted murderer pleads guilty to 1981 Callaway County killing

Conrad Schmitt III
Missouri Department of Corrections
Conrad Schmitt III


A man -- who was already convicted of murder in another case – pleaded guilty on Friday to the 1981 killing of Ricky Ridings, according to a press release from Callaway County Prosecutor Benjamin Miller.

Conrad Schmitt III, 70, pleaded guilty on Friday to manslaughter, Miller’s release states. Casenet shows that Schmitt was charged with capital murder. He was sentenced to 10 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.

The release states Schmitt shot and killed Ridings between June 30-July 9, 1981.

Schmitt was already serving a life sentence without parole for a first-degree murder charge in St. Charles County. He was found guilty by a jury on May 1, 1998, for first-degree murder and armed criminal action, according to court records.

The release states that the case was at a “standstill” until Schmitt admitted to killing Ridings in a recorded prison phone call in June 2017. He was eventually indicted in May 2018.

The release states Miller met with Ridings’ surviving family members, and they allegedly said in order to obtain closure, they wanted to know more details about the murder that only Schmitt could answer.

Miller states in the release that charges were amended to manslaughter in exchange for Schmitt’s agreement to answer questions from Ridings’ family. Two members of the family spoke with him on Aug. 11, according to the release.

“This case presented a rare opportunity to offer the closure the Ridings family rightfully deserved - closure in comprehending the circumstances surrounding Ricky's tragic fate,” Miller stated in the release. "At the end of the sentencing, the Ridings family thanked Mr. Schmitt for his candor regarding his role in Ricky's murder, demonstrating a remarkable, and extremely unique, instance of restorative justice.

Article Topic Follows: Crime

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Ryan Shiner


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